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breast cancer - need to wean

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I just found out today that the giant lump in my breast is cancer.

I go next week for lots of tests, and I think they are going to start me on chemo before surgery.

I need to wean Owen before I start chemo.

He will be two in just a few days. He nurses to sleep (naps and for bedtime), and still nurses lets say 2 to 10 times a night to fall back asleep. He gets really mad if I try to sooth him otherwise (patting, holding, etc). He may nurse or not at in between times as well.

He is very fond of his "nilk".

How can I wean him so quick?? I don't even know what to do. I've tried to read up on it, but I can't find much for some reason.

post #2 of 34
i don't have any advice I just wanted to offer a hug.

I will pray for your quick recovery mama.
post #3 of 34
A big hug to you.
I am sorry this is happening.
My prayers are for a speedy and complete recovery.
post #4 of 34
I would explain that mama's breast (what ever you call them) are sick. That he needs to stop so you can get meds to make them better.

Please read about comfort messure and then the herbs that help you dry up your milk.

post #5 of 34
Oh, I am soooo sorry you are going through this.

It sounds like you are in a hurry (for good reason). Keep in mind that a healthy mommy is the BEST thing for your DS (even better than nursing). Perhaps you could try some band-aids, even let DS put them on for you saying your nursies are sick and can't nurse any more. You will probably need some extra help with him in this trying time---- can you do anything special that you don't normally do as an extra thing? Keep his mind off of it? Will DP help put DS to bed?

Good luck, you will be in my thoughts.

post #6 of 34
((((((((((( owensmom ))))))))))) I'm so sorry to hear that news! That sounds really scary. I wish I had some words of wisdom but I know there are other mamas here with experience w/breast cancer & trust they will have advice.

Just hugs from me, and I totally understand how overwhelming it must feel to wean quickly. My dd is nearly two and also nurses to sleep, and I can only imagine how hard it would be. But I agree w/the others that it's a very empathetic age, too, and he may be very nurturing & glad to show concern for your "owies".

About the abrupt nightweaning - Did you try sending an email question to one of the websites of likeminded docs? Sears, Gordon, or Elizabeth Pantley - or the "Experts" panel on the Mothering website homepage. Someone must have written about this.

Trust that your body will heal & your close relationship with ds will get you two through this!

hugs, mamabutterfly
post #7 of 34
Just want to wish you the best of luck with your treatment and a speedy recovery.
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone - I know I can distract him during normal times, but for 2 years this has been his main mode of falling asleep. I'll try telling him that they are sick - that is a good idea.... he understands when something is hurt. mamabutterfly, I'll try that - the experts should be able to help!

I wonder if I use the herbs suggested on Kellymom to sort of dry things up... maybe it will help him understand that milk is "all gone".

Thanks... Lesley
post #9 of 34
Lesley, no additonal advice here, but I can imagine how difficult the weaning (and sleeping!) part of this must be. I won't pretend to imagine how you're feeling in the face of your cancer. Sending you lots of hugs and prayers for a fast, complete recovery. You're in my thoughts.
post #10 of 34
My heart goes out to you.

A close friend of mine is going through this right as we speak, but with a 10 month old. I know how heartrending it has been for her, and yet it is still easier than your case because a 10 month old is easier to wean than a 2 year old.

The easiest part will be weaning from that side - you can start this immediately and the only risk from the speed is mastitis. Put cabbage leaves in your bra.

On the other side, you have a choice - if you wean that side, it will help to see if there are any tumors there also (horrible to think about, but possible). On the other hand, you could pump and dump the milk from the chemo period and surgery. For a 2 year old who is very attached to the milk, this is possible. I have heard that there is a woman here in my region who did this for a 3 year old. Even if you just pump 1-2 times a day it might be enough for the child to still get some milk when you are done with treatment.

I am so, so sorry. I saw your title and my heart just sank to know that someone else is going through this also. Feel free to
send me a private message here at Mothering if you want to talk more about this. Please take care of yourself - I urge you to start talking to friends and rally your support network around you. I know that breast cancer can be a very treatable cancer and I wish you all the best for smooth and successful surgery and chemo.

mom to Emily (4.5) and Hazel (1.5)
post #11 of 34
mama this is not similar to what you are facing at all
but i weaned ds at 26 months cuz i was pregnant
and did not want to tandem nurse
i did do it gradual
but naptimes became real hard cuz
i would nurse him to sleep
or let him fall asleep in the car and carry him in
but could not carry him up the steps cuz i also had
high blood pressure and was on bedrest the last 9 weeks
anyway i mastered naps
reading fairy tales
and i mean not the three little pigs or goldilocks
but the really long boring ones
like the nightingale, or thumbelina
and i would read certain parts like the DEEP BLUE SEA
with lots of umph! and
then i would read in monotone
now he like falls alseep after one page
it is a cinch

anyway you are in my prayers
love to you
post #12 of 34
To add to the 'owwie' train of thought. I had a friend draw little cuts with stitches with a red perm marker and put bandaids on them, right next to her nipple, on both sides. She didn't have cancer, just a cyst on one side they wanted to remove. Her dd was closer to three but it worked really well. Her dd would even kiss the bandaids. I can't imagine either of my guys being that close with their lips and not trying to go for it. But it worked for her. Hugs
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your ideas - I'll try anything.

This is soooooooooooo hard. When he asks for milk during the day and I have to persuade him otherwise, it just makes me cry.

<< grossness ahead >>

I discovered last night that the breast with the tumor is expressing not only milk through the nipple, but bloody stuff too. I also had a cyst, which they sort of drained, but when they did the biopsy I ended up having the cystic fluid drain out the biopsy incision. Apparently he jabbed through a milk duct or two, so that same fluid is coming out there. I had to get up at 6 this morning to pump from that side, it was getting really engorged. Better go get a cabbage. So now I really only have one side to nurse him on for now....

I am so dreading the middle of the night, he is so tired and crabby that if I say "no milk right now" or try to sooth him other ways he pitches a huge fit. He won't let dad take care of him, and it was different walking around with a baby in the middle of the night trying to go back to sleep... now he weighs 30 lbs!

Do you think that it would be bad to try to give him bottles to go to sleep, since he has such a strong sleep/suck association?
post #14 of 34
oh you beautiful precious mama
i am so sorry

maybe you could try a sippy cup
Charlie never took a bottle!

or call LLL
post #15 of 34
I am soo sorry for your illness. My prayers are with you and your family. I can't pretend to know what you are feeling right now, and I don't know what kind of advice I have. But one thing that has helped me to get dd to sleep without nursing, is a massage.
we use SOlum Ol from Weleda/Wala and it just smells wonderful, and is really soothing. DD usually goes right to sleep. Now I know there is an age difference between our babies but it might be wortha shot. It would still be something close and comforting for you to do togeather.

I send you all my positive thoughts and energy and I hope for a speedy recovery
post #16 of 34
Positive thoughts and prayers headed your way...
post #17 of 34
Hey, mama

I usually don’t talk too much about my weaning experience because it wasn’t one of my best moments as a mom. I feel compelled to talk to you though because I would love to help. First, let me say how sorry I am to hear that you…I’m not good at this…I’m sorry for what you’re going through.

About the weaning, I thought there was a suggestion that you could continue to breastfeed on one breast but that doesn’t seem like a very good option if you’re going to have chemotherapy.

I weaned my daughter at 18 months. I won’t get into why but let me just say it was in no way as noble a reason as yours.

My advice is to make a huge effort to wean gradually and when you finally decide stop with the remaining feedings, get some herbs or comfort for your breasts. One thing that shocked me was the hormones that came flooding back shortly after I stopped.

I would say that, for your child, explaining ahead of time will do very much to help Owen. (I have a brother named Owen, btw…love that name).

Aya is up…I’ll try to think of some more things later.
post #18 of 34
If you give him a bottle at night make it of water.

If you are really need to put something else don't let him sleep with it in his mouth.

Would he be happy with a pacifier.

With lots of love he will get through this.

Extra hugs for you all.
post #19 of 34
Owensmom, I am so sorry you're having to deal with this. I read your post yesterday and decided to test an idea I had gotten on another board to see if it works.

After talking about how the milkies are boo-boo I borrowed green body paint from my daughter and colored my nipples green. (The mom on the other board used Crayola washable marker.) Then I sat down with my ds to read some stories. He kept jabbing me in the breast which hurt (I have been getting recurring mastitis). So I told him please to be careful b/c they really hurt. Asked did he want to see? Of course he said yes. So I unveiled them.

His mouth dropped open and he exclaimed "Mom! Your milkies turned geen!" (he's 2.5 that's how he says green) and asked to see them several more times at intervals. When it came time to go to sleep, he didn't even ask. Dh asked him if he wanted to have some milkies, just to see what he'd say, and he emphatically declared, "NO! Mom's milkies turned GEEN!"

Okay, then he started running a little fever (just a cold) which I would have postponed weaning had I anticipated that, but too late to turn back. And yet he still didn't even ask to nurse!!! Even waking up feverish at 5:00 am (which is one of our two main times that he would nurse), he sat up in bed (we cosleep) and asked for a glass of water!!! You could have told me that would happen and I wouldn't have believed you in a million years!!

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know of my experience. Now we are on night #2 and no sign of his wanting to nurse. (I reapplied the paint when I got home from work just in case he asked to see, but he hasn't.) So I say it worked.

I wish you all the strength you will need to deal with the coming therapies, etc. You'll be in my thoughts.

ETA, I also use a homeopathic remedy called phytolacca decandra (sp?) which my midwife had given me for the first bout of mastitis. (Over a year ago.) Cabbage leaves in the bra are good too, when weaning or decreasing nursing sessions abruptly. And stay away from oatmeal! You don't need to increase production, obviously.

Oh, he just came up to me and said "I want milkies." I said "they are boo boo, don't you remember? They're broken." "I want to see." I showed him and he counted them. "1, 2." And that was that.
post #20 of 34
owensmom, i've seen you on here forever, and i just wanted to say 'i'm sorry' and offer you my prayers (i think queenie's idea sounds intruiging, btw.) i can't imagine how hard this has got to be for you and owen.

love, suse
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